Low-key, Rock Dog is a Chinese-financed movie about a native Tibetan who saves the day by abandoning his traditional culture—and that might not even be the worst thing about it. Bodi (Luke Wilson), a mountain-dwelling mastiff, feels called to leave behind the role of his dad (J.K. Simmons) protecting the town’s sheep from predatory wolves, and follow his need to make music to the Big City. What happens in the Big City borders on irrelevant, save that it involves Bodi seeking out a writer’s-blocked rock star (voiced by Eddie Izzard, who at least provides a modicum of energy doing a family-friendly spin on Russell Brand’s Aldous Snow). Otherwise, this tale from co-writer/director Ash Brannon (Surf’s Up) is just another tired variation on the “junior knows best” animated feature plot trope, full of slapstick and action beats but lacking any personality for its dopily earnest hero, or a single memorable joke, for that matter. Oh wait, there is this gag: the narrator of the story is a yak, voiced by Sam Elliott, named Fleetwood. Fleetwood Yak. So maybe that qualifies as the worst thing about it.
Director: Ash Brannon
Producer: Amber Wang, Joyce Lou, David Miller, Rob Feng, Zheng Jun, Wang Zhongjun, Zheng Jun, Deng Feng, Angela Wu, Andrew Yang, Wang Zhonglei, Jerry Ye, Xu Xiaoping, Liu Shengyi, Tan Fei, Chuck Peil, Uri Fleming, Mike Bundlie and Lauren Selig
Cast: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Will Finn, Ash Brannon, Liza Richardson, Julie Craig, Deng Feng, Kellen Goff, Jennifer Hale and Matt Taylor